Greetings again, sorry for the 3 weeks worth of no postings I was occupied with other things.
I will try and remember what I have been doing. We arrived in Santa Cruz on time and I spent the day hosing down the outside of the ship and applying rust remover to patches of discoloured paint. Its amazing how in 6 days crossing the Atlantic we acquired less rust than in 1 sea day off the coast of South America.
The next day was Funchal (Madeira) where I spent the morning on the forward mooring deck and then got the afternoon off to go ashore. Funchal is a lovely place and we went up the hill in the cable car and came back down via some very windy and steep roads on a wooden sledge. What they didnâ€™t tell us was the sledge only goes the first 2km, so we were left to walk the last 3. After we got back to the centre of town we wondered around some shops, Soaria (Yes itâ€™s been brought to my attention that I have spelt it wrong every other time) and me both had a McDonalds â€“ first time in 6 months! Before we all headed back to the ship.
That evening the 3 of us cadets had to take part in the Strictly Cruise Dancing competition, we did extremely badly but it was arranged so that in the end everyone got the same score since it was just for fun anyway â€“ It doesnâ€™t however seem to be on the cruise DVD from that cruise â€“ what a shame 🙂
After a rocky day at sea heading to Lisbon we sailed under the bridge just as the sun was coming up and I got numerous excellent pictures. After going to the forward mooring deck for arrival I had to quickly change and head to the theatre to go on one of the shore excursions as an escort. Basically this means we get to go on the excursion for free, in return all we need to do is smile and talk to passengers and make sure no one gets left behind.
In the afternoon I was helping load the new radars onto the ship using a cargo net and one of the cranes, before we sailed from Lisbon bound for Palma.
The first of our 2 sea days was spent up the radar mast assisting safety officer and a selection of engineers and etoâ€™s with installing the new S band radar. This involved a wonderful contraption being constructed up the top of the mast using several ladders and lots of rope â€“ it looked very impressive and did the job of allowing us to lift the radar up the mast and balance it in position. Luckily it was a clear day with no swell or wind.
We passed the Straits of Gibraltar that day as well and I had my first experience of idiotic navigation from a container vessel which decided it would cross both sides of the traffic separation scheme directly in front of us, and in front of a Mearsk container ship coming in the opposite direction â€“ after a lot of shouting by our 2nd officer and the officer of the watch on the Mearsk ship she changed her mind and slowed down to allow us to pass first.
The second sea day was uneventful and was also spent up the radar mast helping to install the new X band radar.
Iâ€™m now going to skip a few uneventful days and come to Friday the 6th of April. I spent today assisting with an outside inspection and testing of our lifeboats and lliferafts. Iâ€™m not sure if this is an annual survey but basically we have a team of people from the manufacturers of the davits here testing the on load release mechanism on the lifeboats and the davits using water weights. This will be continuing for the next few days, since we have just finished the port side yesterday (Saturday) and still have the entire starboard side to do.
Iâ€™m glad we are getting to take part as it is giving us lots of practice launching and recovering the lifeboats, and we are actually getting to do it ourselves. I am finally getting used to climbing on top of the lifeboats when there in their position on deck 8 to release the tracings so we can drop them without having to stop at embarkation deck, which is what would normally happen. Next day I am going to have to take some photos and videos of the test for my operations workbook.
Today being a sea day is our day off (or â€œstudy dayâ€), the morning was taken up by the PAX muster drill, and then I had to do the noon position announcement and one bridge tour at 1430. The time in between has been spent writing a report on the PAX drill, checking emails and catching up on some sleep.
So until next timeâ€¦